by Bulldog Drummond
We have some more information on who might be playing on Thursday. Dominic Thompson now seems to be our prime choice either for left back or back up left back.
And the reason for this is that in addition to the injuries to Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, that we highlighted in the last preview Jordi Osei-Tutu and Cohen Bramall, the two players we picked as possible replacements, are also injured! This is getting to be like the year of the 7 left backs in 2oo6.
But we do have Tolaji Bola who is the first-choice left-back for the under 23s, and I am not sure what has happened to him. Has he been injured too? Anyway Dominic Thompson seems to be the man training with the team, so maybe he is going to be playing against Vorskla. Or perhaps he’ll be on the beach.
As suggested with our earlier chitchat on the subject of who might play, Emile Smith Rowe, Julio Pleguezuelo and Eddie Nketiah also trained with the first team, so I guess we can expect all of these to be in the squad.
Indeed Arsenal have now released the list of players currently in training, so we have to pick 18 from
Cech, Leno, Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Ozil, Xhaka, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Iwobi, Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck, Torreira, Thompson, Smith Rowe, Nketiah, Pleguezuelo.
How about for the 18 man squad if we have…
Leno, Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal, Guendouzi, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Iwobi, Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck, Torreira, Thompson, Smith Rowe, Nketiah, Pleguezuelo.
Meanwhile here is what our next opponents have been up to of late.
|Date||Competition||Home team||Score||Away team|
|19/08/18||Lge||Vorskla||2 – 1||Mariupol’|
|25/08/18||Lge||Oleksandria||2 – 0||Vorskla|
|31/08/18||Lge||Vorskla||2 – 1||Chornomorets|
|08/09/18||Friendly||Vorskla||5 – 4||Oleksandria|
|15/09/18||Lge||Karpaty||0 – 1||Vorskla|
So leaving aside the friendly Vorskla have won their last two.
The big name in the history of Vorskla was the local mayor and president of the club, Oleh Babaiev who was very keen on establishing greater recreational opportunities within the region, and who oversaw the re-building of the sports facilities in the city which were left over from the days of the Soviet Union.
However on 26 July 2014 Babaiev was shot dead in his car, in what was described as a premeditated murder. Six months later a memorial to Oleh Babaiev financed by those who were his friends was unveiled in Kremenchug, one of the parks he restored.
Of course Vorskla itself by that time was well established having gained entry to the group stage of the 2011/2 Europa league – their highest achievement on the international arena. Last season the club finished third in the top division for the first time since 1997. It was only the second time they finished third – their highest position. They have also won the Ukrainian Cup once, in 2009.
The club now play in the Butovsky Memorial Vorskla Stadium, a ground named after one of the founders of the modern Olympic games.
They first entered the Uefa Cup in 2000/1 going out in the first round to Boavista. They returned in 2009/10 when they were eliminated by Benfica.
In 2011/12 they came through two qualifying rounds and the play off round to get into the group stages where they played Hannover 96, Standard Liege and Copenhagen, drawing one and losing the other games.
In both 2015/16 and 2016/17 they entered at the third qualifying round stage and lost at that point.
Given that this is Arsenal in the Europa League we can expect lots of coverage in the media of the number of empty seats in the stands but precious little concerning the game.
If we win by a large margin the result will have taught observers in the press box nothing, if we only just win we will be a shambles and the manager’s choice of players will be called into question. Any other result and I leave what the media will say to your imagination.
Still as is often the case these days there is a little bit of a side show. Mauricio Pochettino accused the so-called journalists of “disrespecting” his players after the defeat to Inter by 2-1. He said…
“When my decision is to play with 11, you must respect my decision because I am the manager. It’s so painful to hear when some people are not here and you judge in that way.”
Translations into English are, as ever, welcome.
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